“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

- Toni Morrison

Tanzanian writer Nahida Esmail was born and raised in Dar es Salam. Nahida is an award-winning author of four young adult novels and ten children’s picture books, three of which have been translated into Swahili and one translated into Maa, the language of the Maasai. She has also written four textbooks, two for the secondary school level and two for primary. Her four young adult novels, Living in the Shade, Lesslie the City Maasai, Detectives of Shangani, and Living in the Shade: Aiming for the Summit have all received CODE’s Burt Award for African Literature. Her latest book is a historical fiction titled, ‘Karafu: A Freed Slave’. In 2015, she was honoured with the Tanzania Women’s Achievement Award in the education category.



Nahida’s writing journey began when she went in search of books for her daughter but was disappointed at the lack of books written by and for Tanzanians; and so she decided to write them.


Nahida graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London, with a BSc in Psychology and she completed a Masters in Child Development with Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Nahida currently lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and is a part-time writer and a full-time mother of two girls. She has lived in London, UK; Cairo, Egypt; and Durban, South Africa, and she continues to explore the world with her children.

Recently she attained her Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), and is currently focused on producing text books for schools.

She enjoys reading, cycling, mountain climbing, photography, and travelling.

In 2016, she cycled 377km from Mount Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater to raise funds for access to clean water in Africa. She has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro twice, Mount Toubkal (Morocco) once, Mount Fuji (Japan) once and reached Base Camp Everest once.

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